Cristiano Ronaldo is soccer’s first billion-dollar man

After making a whopping $105 million over the past year, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is now the first soccer player in history to earn $1 billion in his career. He barely edged out Lionel Messi for the No. 2 spot on Forbes’ recently published “World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes” list.

Ronaldo is now in elite company. He’s just the third athlete to reach the $1 billion mark while still actively playing his respective sport:

  • Tiger Woods did it in 2009 thanks to a long-term endorsement deal with Nike
  • Floyd Mayweather passed the mark in 2017 from pay-per-view sales from his fights

The Portuguese soccer star has made $650 million on the pitch during his 17-year career and that could go up to $765 million based on his current contract. As Forbes pointed out, former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez earned $450 million in total salary in his 22-year Major League Baseball career and is the only team athlete who has made close to the money Ronaldo has.

Endorsement deals also play a massive role in Ronaldo’s income. Nike, who he has a lifetime deal with as of 2016, annually pays the soccer star $20 million. Even with a 30 percent pay cut brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Ronaldo, 35, has earned $60 million from his salary in 2020.

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